Quit now, Democrats tell embattled Weiner

Former US congressman from New York and current Democratic candidate for New York City Mayor Anthony Weiner leaves a campaign stop at the Nan Shan Senior Center to meet the press, in the Queens borough of New York on July 29, 2013. A majority of New
Former US congressman from New York and current Democratic candidate for New York City Mayor Anthony Weiner leaves a campaign stop at the Nan Shan Senior Center to meet the press, in the Queens borough of New York on July 29, 2013. A majority of New York Democrats want disgraced former Congressman Mr Weiner out of the race to be the city's next mayor, according to a poll published on Monday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK CITY (AFP) - A majority of New York Democrats want disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner out of the race to be the city's next mayor, according to a poll published on Monday.

Mr Weiner, who admitted last week to conducting a steamy cyber affair a year after similar conduct forced him to resign from Congress, has already been urged to quit by Democrat bigwigs.

The latest survey, carried out by Quinnipiac University's Polling Institute, found 53 per cent of registered Democrats want him to quit the race, against 40 per cent who say he should continue to campaign.

The poll also confirmed that last week's salacious revelations about his online relationship with Sydney Leathers have left him with little chance of winning the September primary. From being the frontrunner in June, he has slid to fourth in the Democrat field, with only 16 per cent support.

City Council speaker Christine Quinn leads the pack with 27 per cent and Weiner is also now trailing Bill de Blasio and William Thompson.

"With six weeks to go, anything can happen but it looks like former Congressman Anthony Weiner may have sexted himself right out of the race," said Quinnipiac director Maurice Carroll.

Mr Weiner was dealt another blow over the weekend when his campaign manager Danny Kedem quit, telling friends that the candidate had not been upfront with him about the nature of the damaging revelations likely to emerge on the hustings.

Mr David Axelrod, the strategist who guided President Barack Obama to his election victories, has told Mr Weiner he is wasting his time continuing the fight. "Americans believe in second chances, but not third chances," he said.

Mr Weiner shrugged off the advice. "I don't take my views on politics from the Sunday talk shows," he said Monday. "Or from the headline writers. These are the people who did not want me to run in the first place. I'm going to keep talking about the things that matter to this city."

There is concern in some Democratic circles that Mr Weiner's determination not to go quietly could prove damaging to Hillary Clinton's hopes of succeeding Mr Obama in 2016.

Mr Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, was one of Mrs Clinton's top aides when she was Secretary of State. Abedin has not been seen on the campaign trail since making a sombre appearance at a press conference last week to say she was standing by her husband despite the revelation he was pursuing other women online in the months after she gave birth to their son.

Ms Abedin's stance has been compared to that of Hillary Clinton's reaction to husband Bill's well-documented infidelities. But according to Mrs Clinton's former White House press secretary, Dee Dee Myers, the couple have little sympathy for Mr Weiner. "They as much as anyone would like to see this go away," Ms Myers said.

Mr Weiner's 2011 resignation from Congress came after he accidentally tweeted a picture of himself in his underwear to all his followers rather than the young woman he was then courting online.